Fulmer doesn't pitch, but makes most of experience
By Christina DeNicola
MIAMI -- Justin Upton last played right field four years and two teams ago.
And yet, that's where Upton found himself in the 10th inning as he made a sliding catch to rob Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager of a leadoff hit that helped cement the American's League's 2-1 victory over the National League in the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard in Miami on Tuesday night.
"With the game on the line right there, you gotta kind of lock in," Upton said. "I don't think anybody wanted to play 11 innings. I got a good read on it. It was going away from me, but I was able to still catch it."
Upton, the Tigers' starting left fielder, had an idea he would probably be placed in right when coaches saw that he had the most experience at the position among the AL reserve outfielders.
In 11 big league seasons, Upton has appeared in 769 games (756 starts) in right field -- the most of any position -- with a .969 fielding percentage. He was a member of the Braves when he last manned right.
The 29-year-old, who struck out swinging against Rockies closer Greg Holland in the eighth inning, singled to center off Cubs closer Wade Davis with one out in the 10th. Upton, in his second season of a six-year, $132.75 million contract with the Tigers, made his fourth All-Star Game with his third organization.
"You got to play both sides of the ball, obviously," said Upton, who led the Tigers with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs heading into the break. "To make a catch like that is pretty cool."
Fulmer gets to know foes
Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer and Astros ace Dallas Keuchel had quite the icebreaker during All-Star Week, although Fulmer was unable to participate in the game since he pitched on Sunday.
Fulmer and Keuchel attended high school in Oklahoma. During Fulmer's senior year, Keuchel's alma mater beat Fulmer's team for the state championship. Naturally, that was the first topic of conversation between the pair at Marlins Park.
What an experience! @JUST_JUP with a base hit and probably a game saving catch in right field! I had the best spectator seat in the dugout!
"Honestly, I didn't know what to expect coming in, but just getting to know these guys has been a real dream come true to be able to just participate in all these fesivities," said Fulmer. "I've gotten to know other guys like Dallas, who's not pitching as well, so we got something to talk about. All these guys are real good people, and [I'm] looking forward to competing against them in the years to come."
Once the break ends, Fulmer is scheduled to start Saturday against the Blue Jays. All-Star festivities shifted his in-between-starts schedule around, with him playing catch Tuesday and hoping to do the same Wednesday.
The 24-year-old, who went from being the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year Award winner to a '17 All-Star, finished 9-6 with a 3.19 ERA in the first half.
"You just want to try and get back into your routine," Fulmer said. "Even though it's a four-day All-Star break, I only have five days in between starts. I'll have one extra day from a rotation, but I'm usually playing catch every day, a quality bullpen [the] third day, which I might not have that luxury this time. It's been fun, but got to get back into routine mode for my next start."
Christina DeNicola is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.